Ugly Love: A Survivor's Story of Narcissistic Abuse
Laura Charanza, author
In Ugly Love: A Survivor’s Story of Narcissistic Abuse, former journalist and two-time survivor of narcissistic abuse Laura Charanza details her decades of traumatization at the hands of loved ones, and shares her personal account of mental and emotional abuse, as well as her long, yet inspiring, road to recovery. Whether you’re currently in a relationship with a narcissist, or know someone who is, Ugly Love can guide those suffering through their own pain and help them begin their path to healing. Using examples gleaned from her own trauma, Charanza walks readers through the specific signs and stages of narcissistic abuse, how to identify similar abuse in your own relationship, and offers advice to help find the courage to end the cycle of abuse and overcome the feelings of self-doubt, unworthiness and despair.
Former TV news anchor Charanza draws on her history of abusive relationships in this choppy debut that blends memoir and self-help. Interspersing shocking scenes of emotional and verbal abuse by both her mother and ex-husband, Charanza unpacks the nature and signs of narcissistic personality disorder using advice from experts—such as psychologist Scott A. Bonn, whose research on diagnosing and the prevalence of narcissistic and sociopathic disorders she lays out. She lists the disorder’s diagnostic criteria: unhealthy self-importance, entitlement, and lack of empathy, among other traits. She also succinctly explains the cycle of abuse and the tactics of the narcissist, such as gaslighting, moving targets or “gamechanging” (praising and condemning the same actions), and wearing down one’s self-worth through attrition. Addressing readers who might be in a relationship with a narcissist, Charanza unpacks unhealthy coping mechanisms of victims, including eating disorders (which she struggled with) and addiction, before laying out concrete, direct advice on how to separate from an abuser. She closes with encouragement and strategies for healing, focusing on cognitive therapy and clinical techniques such as eye-movement desensitization, a stress-reducing therapy. Charanza’s flow between personal examples and summaries of experts is not always smooth, but her summing up of complex research is accessible and her personal story conveys the urgency of escaping abuse. Victims of narcissistic abuse or those hoping to help a loved one in such a situation will find this immensely helpful. (BookLife)